A Staff Mis-Step Caused By……

January 30, 2012

 

….MISSING A STEP IN THEIR ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

I have been anxiously  anticipating the end of a 10 day waiting period for receipt of my documents requested under the California Public Record Act.

On January 30, 2012, Wildomar City Clerk Debbie Lee  provided a response to my request for documents in accordance with her duties and obligations as the custodian of records for the City of Wildomar.

The focus of my document request related to the decision-making process which culminated in a December 08, 2010 unanimous vote by the Wildomar City Council (newly-elected Benoit and Walker never even asked a single question before they voted) to join the Joint Powers Agency (“JPA”) of the Animal Friends of the Valley (“AFV”).

In my opinion, and as an elemental part my original concept of “Re-Thinking Wildomar,”  the decision to join the  AFV/JPA is having a detrimental impact on the City of Wildomar budget, and was based on  inadequate financial information.

Once I have “made my case” for my readers, using the numbers taken from public documents, we can then fairly reach reasonable conclusions and allocate culpability.

Submitted for your comparative analysis,  are the following numbers to consider:

1) $354,300, the current budget allocation (2011-12) for animal control services provided by AFV/JPA. (On a per capita basis, that’s double what most cities pay for animal control services).
2) $  82,250, the estimated amount of revenue generated by license fees and citations “given away,” without ample justification, to AFV by the City Council.
3) $436,550,
the total annual economic cost to Wildomar for animal control services by contracting with AFV and joining the JPA.

On July 22, 2009, according to documents just received, Interim City Manager John Danielson made a presentation to the City Council, comparing animal control costs to be provided by AFV with the cost of animal control services to be provided by Riverside County.

At that time, AFV proposed providing Field Services for “1 officer, 5 hours/day, 5 days per week, including Animal Sheltering, while retaining all city licensing and citation revenues.” The proposal is in the amount of $90,000 per year, but that was before  their costly construction project began.

Riverside County Department of Animal Services proposed providing Field services for “1 officer, 8 hours/day, 5 days per week, including Animal Sheltering services,” in the amount of $317,695 per year.

At that time, as of July 2009, it was a “no-brainer,” and the City Council made the proper decision to contract with AFV.

However, subsequent to July 2009, AFV completed their $12 million Mammalian Taj Mahal and all of the economic dynamics changed dramatically for AFV.

Nonetheless, when the vote to join the JPA came before the newly-constituted City Council on December 08, 2010, City Staff apparently failed to reconsider those changes and presented only one option for animal control services, unilaterally favoring the AFV/JPA, based upon “deal points” negotiated by City Manager Frank Oviedo, in the company of then-Mayor Bridgette Moore.

 And now for the missing calculations:

1) $   76,361, for “adjusted” Field Services, based on 1300 hours per year versus 2080 hours per year. (A 32.5% difference in the number of hours proposed).
2) $195,515, for Animal Sheltering services at San Jacinto Shelter, as of July 2009.
3) $271,876, total of 1) and 2).
4)<$ 82,250>, reduced/offset by the income for City Licensing and citation revenues, if properly retained by the city.
5) $189,626, the net annual cost for animal control services if the City entered an agreement with the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

Apparently, after making the initial decision to contract with AFV for animal control services, the AFV/JPA began  their political seduction of the City of Wildomar ( dare I suggest the political influence of the Chamber of Commerce?), and no one on City Staff considered taking another look at the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, in order to secure an up-to-date proposal for a “side-by-side” comparison with the cost of joining with the AFV/JPA, before making their staff recommendation to the City Council.

Another “no-brainer.”

Different descriptive context, however.

Let’s do the final math now, as follows:

1) $436,550, the total current annual cost for animal control services, including the ceding of “all City licensing and citation revenues” to AFV.
2) $189,626, the total net cost for animal control services, achieved by utilizing the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, while retaining license and citation revenues.
3) $246,924, the annual cost difference between the two services.

That’s another quarter million dollars  out of Wildomar’s budget, per year.

This information should truly annoy the hard-working volunteers that are taking care of Marna O’Brien Park.

Here’s my point.

In response to my request for all documents “pertaining to any correspondence between the City of Wildomar and the Riverside County Department of Animal Services up to December 31, 2010,” the City Clerk stated the following: “Staff has done a search  for the records you have requested and found no records that match your request.”

Because those documents don’t exist! It is obvious the  no one on City Staff even bothered to recontact Riverside County for an up-dated, alternative proposal to compare with the AFV/JPA proposal.

 The above statement justifies my well-reasoned opinion that City Staff has failed to exercise due diligence on behalf of the citizens of Wildomar by not exploring a reasonable alternative to  the excessively costly agreement with AFV/JPA.

Wildomar deserves, and should demand, better from it’s elected officials and professional staff.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

On September 08, 2010, I made a presentation to the City Council  by using three minutes of Public Comment to provide a thumbnail sketch of the cost of the city of Wildomar having their own animal control services. However, rather than considering my suggestion, it was “blown off” by City Staff, with the dismissive response that the Ramona shelter was all of 33 miles distance from Wildomar, as if that mattered.

Please click on the following link, and scroll down to page 5 to confirm:

http://cityofwildomar.org/uploads/files/minutes/12-08-10-cap.pdf


The Annual American Lung Association…..

January 29, 2012

….SPEWS IT’S MEANINGLESS POLITICAL SMOKE

About this same time every year, the American Lung Association begins their self-serving drive for more taxes on the use of tobacco products, which might eventually trickle down to them, by giving a letter grade for cities like Wildomar on their compliance with the Lung Association standards.

For your information, if you care, please click on the following link, and scroll down to page 57, to verify that Wildomar’s “official” grade is is a “C”:

http://www.lungusa.org/associations/states/california/assets/pdfs/sotc-2012/sotc-2012_ca-report.pdf

I suppose we could do better but than a C, but then who cares?

Hopefully, City Council of Wildomar will ignore the American Lung Association’s grading system.

Who cares what ” they say,”  in any event? (Context left intentionally ambiguous).

Perhaps the adolescents of the City Council will be able to restrain themselves from seeking the approval of everyone except for the citizens they are supposed to serve

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Zak was hoping that some preemptive mockery will keep the fatuous issue off the City Council agenda.


The “Pottery Barn Rule”…..

January 27, 2012

… A TEACHABLE MOMENT FOR BRIDGETTE MOORE

This morning’s Californian article on the hard-working volunteers who are supporting the efforts of the nonprofit, “Friends for Wildomar Parks,” appears to focus on Wildomar City Councilmember Bridgette Moore who has, once again, put herself into the forefront/limelight of the latest park fundraising event.

Please click on the following link to confirm:

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/wildomar/wildomar-donated-items-to-help-keep-park-open/article_9e47047e-3350-5557-b141-4082d0bbc6e0.html

Unfortunately for Bridgette, she has unwittingly (her standard state of cognition) triggered  a  slight variant of what is known as the “Pottery Barn Rule,” which basically states, “you broke it, you own it.”

Click on the following link to expand the breadth of your own state of cognition, as a reader of Wildomar Magazine:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pottery_Barn_rule

The sad fact of life in Wildomar is that the popular, but inept Former Mayor and her equally inept colleague’s failed effort to fund our parks, through their pre-doomed Measure D, is the primary reason that these harried volunteers are being forced into extraordinary efforts, such as the Goodwill collection.

The bottom line is, Bridgette and Her Buddies broke our parks.

But that is in the past.

For the present, it is an equally sad fact of life in Wildomar, that the current City Council and staff, have been unwilling to respond  to City Councilmember Bob Cashman’s reasonable suggestion (by ignoring it) that sufficient funding could be re-allocated within the current budget to pay for the water for Marna O’Brien Park, especially if some of the grassy areas were reduced in size (which Mother Nature is doing now, in any event).

Since the soft-spoken Cashman’s reasonable suggestion was ignored, perhaps Bridgette could do herself, and the hard-working volunteers,  a favor and try to remain out of the spotlight.

It taints the volunteer effort to look more like a desperate re-election campaign ploy for Bridgette.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

(Editor’s note: With the preparation of the 2012-13 budget currently underway, now would be the appropriate time for the Friends of Wildomar Parks to put pressure on the City Council to eliminate the $50,000+ per year Community Services Director position and reallocate the money to our parks. (I think Wildomar could  do without dance lessons, sewing classes and happy birthday greetings from Facebook to out-of-town realtors and escrow office employees, if it meant more support for parks).

The Community Services Director, who is not an employee of the City, but merely a contract vendor, has no severance package in place, so the sooner you speak out the better. (It would be more “business friendly” to do so).


If You Lived Near Long Beach In The ’50s…..

January 26, 2012

… YOU MIGHT REMEMBER THIS TRAGIC EVENT

I was a seven-year-old youngster, living in Brookings, South Dakota when we received word that my first cousin Shirley Roberts, and her infant son, Douglas, had been killed  by a  Navy jet which had crashed into her home  in the community of Signal Hill, which is completely surrounded by the larger City of Long Beach.

The local newspaper, the Brookings Register, carried the story on the front page, with a photo of a firefighter carrying the tiny remains of a baby in his hands.

Please click on the following to read of the event and the only newspaper archive that I could find chronicling the event online:

http://www.newspaperarchive.com/SiteMap/FreePdfPreview.aspx?img=100506665

When Shirley’s husband returned to his home that evening, only to find everything he loved gone, his hair understandably turned white overnight.

Since Shirley was the second child of my eldest uncle, I can recall only one other happenstance involving Shirley. It was when she returned home to her parent’s house, where I was visiting with my parents, after having been in a solo car accident (Shirley and her friends apparently rolling over in one of the prominent ditches that are common to rural dirt roads in the Midwest). I can recall how she painfully limped around the living room due to her injuries.

As a teenager growing up in Long Beach, I used to include a brief tour (included, without additional cost, if the young lady were fortunate enough to be asked out on an infrequent date with the quirky geek, Gil Rasmussen) to the corner of 19th St. and Raymond Avenue, where the concrete foundation of the destroyed residence remained exposed for many years.

Which probably explains why I never got very many second dates (when I felt sufficiently confident to attempt my initial good night kiss “move”).

Shirley Roberts and her infant son were buried in the same plot at the All Souls Cemetery on Cherry Avenue, just north of Carson St.

Thirty-five years after the event, my elderly uncle confessed that his daughter had approached him and requested the use of his brand-new Chevrolet for a vacation trip to South Dakota. Unfortunately, Uncle’s stingy demeanor prevented him from acquiescing to his daughter’s request.

Had he done so, to his lifelong regret, the Navy jet would have struck his daughter’s unoccupied house.

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Wildomar’s Recipe For Disaster?……

January 24, 2012

 

…..JUST ADD WATER

As with most new developments and proposals, I began to search the Internet for related stories and articles  about the proponents of the Cable Ski Park, an idea being “floated” in water-challenged Wildomar.

Lo and behold, I found  an informative article on a similar, if not the same, cable ski park project (it is Sudweeks Development), originally intended for Santee Lakes, which is located in eastern San Diego County.

Please click on the following links, if you want to inform yourselves:

http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/5761

http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/1747

Since the date of this article is March 2011, the adverse economic conditions of less than a year ago have hardly changed.

At the very least, the Wildomar Planning Commission and the City Council need to be cautious in considering this project. 

A financial feasibility study should be required of the proponents, for review by the city, as the part of the City’s “due diligence”, to properly protect the city’s interests. Unlike a residential development, whose failure is normally, eventually mitigated by the marketplace (some of that particular mitigation is occurring  right now in Wildomar), a “single-purpose use” project, if it fails economically, would remain an eyesore for years to come.

What is disturbing is the confidential agreements that led the developer, after being advised of the ending of the agreement between the two entities, to request a “settlement.” Even though it was reported that there was no “monetary exchange, “the Padre Water District must have had to give up some rights, or why describe it as a “settlement?”

And why make the decision in  a closed session?

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.


Pure Adrenaline….

January 23, 2012

….  AHEAD FOR WILDOMAR?

It is likely, given the unsophisticated, adolescent mindset of our current City Council that the skies over Wildomar will soon be occupied by flying piglets.

Please click on the following link for a video “taste” of what may lay ahead for our once-rural community:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTvvhkY71FY

In your wildest dreams, dear Wildomarian, is this what you “visioned” for your community?

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

When you lack even one mature brain among your cohort, quirky things amuse you.


Any Business Is….

January 22, 2012

….GOOD BUSINESS

So says your boy-Mayor, Ben Benoit, in another fatuous quote in today’s Press-Enterprise.

Please click on the following link to savor his wisdom:

http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/wildomar/wildomar-headlines/20120121-wildomar-long-road-ahead-for-cable-wakeboard-park.ece

Benoit went on to say that there are “a lot of questions to be answered still.”

As a public service, Wildomar Magazine suggests the following “Top Ten” list of questions for the boy-Mayor:

10) When it’s built, can I be the first one to ride on it? I can? Yippie! You have my vote!

9) If I wear my Speedo swim trunks, would I be visible from the freeway? I will? Yippie! You have my vote!

8) Do tall towers, which resemble cell phone towers, make Wildomar’s butt look too large? (See above photograph taken from their website.)

7) Will there be an express lane for local ambulance service?

6) Can we have Chamber of Commerce mixers at the facility? We can? Yippie! You have my vote!

5) Will you provide monetary support for the reelection of incumbents? You will? Yippie! You have our vote!

4) if Lake Elsinore’s cable ski park, whose application is already in progress, puts you out of business, would you clean up your mess? You won’t? Who cares?

3) If a beer and wine license is eventually authorized, can it be a microbrewery? It can? Yippie! You have my vote!

2) Will pulling water from the existing water table for a 9 acre lake have a negative impact on nearby wells? It will? Whatever! You have my vote!

 1) Will giving  up 15 acres of prime commercial/business park (the current land use designation) land for a playground/arcade (there’s no tax increment for the City from entrance fees or parking fees), be the “highest and best” use of this land?

After all, “any business is good business.” (Mayor Benoit, 2012). You already know you have my vote!

Comments can be made to zakturango@excite.com.

Note to City Manager, Frank Oviedo. If you notice on the Press Enterprise link, (see below), you will observe  that the  City of Wildomar logo is prominently displayed on the graphic, which appears to be taken from a Power Point presentation.

Unless the City of Wildomar is already endorsing this project, the applicant should be required to remove it from their public presentations.

If this PowerPoint presentation, which displays the city’s logo, was made before the City Council and the Planning Commission, without any disclaimer from anyone in the City, somebody is not doing their job!